- Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail
- Home Inspections
- Outdoor Considerations
- Indoor Considerations
FAIL TO PREPARE, PREPARE TO FAIL
First impressions are everything! As potential buyers walk into your home you need to understand what they are looking for. "Do I see myself living here?" A cracked wall or scuffed paint in the bathroom: simple mishaps like these can easily deter people from calling the property home. If you see defects or areas needing improvement, complete these projects before allowing potential buyers to view your home. You want people to remember a beautiful home not a house in a state of disrepair. Even if you are in the progress of fixing-up your house, I would advise you do not put the house up for sale until you have finished refurbishing your home as potential buyers will still be deterred as they may not be able to visualize the after-product of your fix-ups.
HOME INSPECTIONS It is not essential you hire your own home inspector before putting your house on the market however many serious buyers have professional home inspectors check homes before placing an offer. In order to prevent any negative feedback from buyer home inspectors, hiring your own in advance may aid you by pointing out areas which need further improvement before being ready for sale.
How does your house look from the street? That is where prospective buyers will be when they first see your home; and, that is where they will form that all-important first impression. Stand at the curb in front of your house and note what you see.
- Remove any clutter in your yard.
- Repair cracked or uneven driveway or walkway surfaces.
- If your lawn has bald spots, apply some top dressing and re-seed. Prune trees and shrubs of dead wood. Weed and mulch flower beds, if you have them. If it is the right time of year, consider buying some flower-filled planters to enhance the eye appeal of your property. Make sure your lawn is mowed regularly.
- Are your windows and walls clean? Ensure your eaves and downspouts are clear of debris and in good repair.
- Do all outside lights work? Replace any burned out bulbs, and clean fixtures of dirt and cobwebs.
- Do windows and exterior doors need recaulking? Does your trim, steps or railings need a new coat of paint?
When you have completed the curb appeal inspection, carefully check the rest of your home’s exterior.
Roof and Chimney:
If you are uneasy about climbing onto your roof, you can inspect most items from the ground using binoculars. Unless roof repair is a simple matter of applying new caulking, you will probably need the services of a professional.
- Check the general condition of your roof.
- Sagging sections, curled shingles, pooled water on flat roofs and corrosion on metal roofing mean it is time for repair or replacement.
- Both masonry and metal chimneys need to be straight and structurally sound, have proper capping on top and watertight flashing where they penetrate the roof.
The condition of your exterior walls directly affects the look and curb appeal of your home.
- Replace old caulking.
- Is your exterior paint looking good? If you see faded colours and cracked or peeling surfaces, you need to repaint. You can clean vinyl siding but defects or damage to it and to metal siding usually means replacement.
- Stucco can be repaired but some skill is required to blend patches with existing stucco.
A prospective buyer will usually enter through your front door; so, that is where you should begin your interior inspection. You want your buyer to see a neat, clean, well-lit interior.
- Ensure that carpets are clean and floors are scrubbed and polished; and that walls and trim show fresh paint (preferably neutral or light colours).
- Are there any unpleasant odours in your home? If so, track them down and eliminate them.
- Ensure all your lights work and are free of cobwebs.
- If you have considerable family memorabilia about, consider thinning it out.Your objective is to help potential buyers feel as if they could live in your home.
- Professional realtors and decorators say the most important areas of your home to upgrade and modernize are the kitchen and bathrooms. Buyers also want to see new or recently installed floor coverings throughout,
- Check stairs for loose boards, ripped carpeting, and missing or loose handrails and guards.
- Most problems with interior walls are cosmetic and can be repaired with spackling compound and paint.
- Ensure doors open and shut properly. Open and close all windows to ensure they work properly.
- Fogging between the panes of a sealed window indicates the seal is broken and the unit needs to be replaced.
Living Rooms, Halls, Bedrooms:
- Keep furniture to a minimum so these rooms do not appear smaller than they are.
- Ensure that traffic can flow in or through these rooms unimpeded.
- Ensure bedroom closets look spacious, organized and uncluttered. Create space by getting rid of old clothes and junk.
- Remember to remove or lock away valuables such as jewellery, coins, currency, cameras and compact discs.
Kitchen and Bathroom:
- In the kitchen, clean all appliances, including your oven.
- Clean your cabinets inside and out, as well as your countertops and backsplashes.
- Repair dripping faucets.
- Remove anything stored on top of your fridge and remove artwork and magnets.
- Remove items stored under the sink.
- In bathrooms, scrub sinks, tubs and toilets taking care to remove any rust stains.
- Remove mildew from showers and bathtubs.
- Clean mirrors, light switch plates and cupboard handles.
The condition of the foundation and main structural members in the basement are critical to the fitness of any house. The purpose of your inspection is to make sure these are sound and durable.
- Look for cracks, water seepage, efflorescence (white powder-like substance), crumbling mortar or concrete and rotting wood.In general, if your basement is damp or musty, consider a dehumidifier.
- Like all other areas of your home, your basement should be organized and clutter-free.
- Change the filters in the furnace and have it cleaned–this is the number one item purchasers want done after a home inspection.
- If you have a pet with a litterbox, ensure the litterbox is clean.
It's show time!
- Get rid of the broken tools, old car parts, discarded bicycles, empty paint cans and the hundreds of other useless items that accumulate in garages. Again, you want a clutter-free zone.
- Use cleaning solutions to remove oil stains from the floor.
You have inspected your house and taken care of problems. Now you are ready for showings.
- Open all drapes, blinds, etc. and turn on lights to make the house bright.
- Air out the house to get rid of cooking, pet odours, etc.
- Have fresh flowers in view.
- Pick up clutter, and empty garbage.
- Make sure everything is spotless.
- Set your thermostat at a comfortable level.
- Remove pets from the house or put them outside.
- Display photos of house in summer to show landscaping if selling in winter months.
- Leave out heating and hydro bills.
- For those on a septic system and/or well, leave out inspection and maintenance information.
Information Courtesy of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation